There is an old saying that goes, “you get what you pay for”, but once again the Arizona Game & Fish Outdoor Expo proves that a free event can be well worth attending. This was our second year exhibiting and it was an amazing event with over 30,000 people coming through Saturday and Sunday.
We setup Friday afternoon next to the Rockcrawling/Trail bike course and in the mist of the other OHV groups. Once again we were given a great place on the end of a row where folks could see the Wheelchair Accessible Van for Expeditions and of course the Action Trackchair is a automatic draw. The wind was a menace but would calm just enough to relax you and then slam a gust across every ones displays. I have to say that the Fire Dancer propane fire pit proved itself under these harsh conditions with the same quality it has from day one. It never fails that someone laughs at our little black pit when we bust it out, but after the fire roars there is no smoke in anyone’s eyes everyone loves it.
The wind was kind to us through the night but final setup in the morning was back in the gust again. Luckily though we have some great volunteers including some Boy Scouts from Troop 30 here in Phoenix who were working on Disability Awareness Merit Badges. Those guys did a great job keeping everyone safe as they gave the Action Trackchair a go. And when we had a disabled person stop by the display the scouts treated that person with the respect and kindness that Scouting instills. The wind kept us from setting up all the gear solutions we have found to help the display in the backcountry, but that is ok as we still had plenty of chances to talk with folks and show them the WAVE and the build quality Sportsmobile puts into their rigs. One thing that has come to light with the Bruan lift is that even though it is a commercial grade lift the use in sand, gravel and dirt has started to effect performance. I hope that with a bit of a cleaning we can get it back into smooth action.
The crowds were impressive at this free event, we heard from almost everyone how great a job Arizona Game & Fish did and the variety of events gave something for everyone. We had a nice constant flow of people all day, both days and often had lines for a chance to pilot the Trackchair. Our test course got a nice upgrade mid morning Saturday as my son who was one of the Boy Scout Volunteers made good use of the WAVE’s recovery shovel by digging a trench and creating a small hill to climb. This showed off the way the Trackchair handles sand, gravel, rocks, and uneven surfaces with ease. It was also great to see that running almost constantly for 8 hours did not impact it at all.
We had a chance to meet quite a few disabled folks and some clubs and groups who either currently work with the disabled community or have a strong desire to do so. Watch for some great partnerships in the future to spring from this event.
I have to give a big Thanks to Jason De Monto for the loan of his prototype offroad trailer. The Action Trackchair is a 350lb, 4ft long, 37″ wide beast and needs something equally as stout to carry it around.Jason put in some serious last minute effort to have his trailer ready to roll and it showed in the amount of attention it got throughout the event.
As always the greatest thanks goes out to each and every person and company that supported our efforts. Without generous donations of time, money and resources we would not be able to help anyone enjoy the wonders of backcountry exploration. We have no building, no employees, no crazy overhead, just a great team of volunteers and and supporters.
If you are in the Phoenix area next March it is well worth stopping by the Outdoor Expo as I am sure it will be bigger and better and of course we always like to meet new people and show them what the disabled are capable of doing with the right tools, techniques and technology.